KILLEEN CASTLE

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Killeen Castle is a 15th-century tower house is located in Killeen townland, near Castlegar, in Galway. It is one of the few surviving examples of a medieval fortified residence in the county, and it has a rich and fascinating story to tell.

The origins of Killeen Castle date back to 1493, when it was built by Redmond Burke, a member of one of the most powerful clans in Connacht. The castle was strategically situated on a low hill overlooking the surrounding lands, and it served as a stronghold for the Burkes and their allies. In 1586, the castle was held by William and Edmund McWilliam Ffiegh, who were involved in several rebellions against the English crown. The castle was eventually confiscated by the crown and granted to Sir Thomas Blake, one of the 14 tribes of Galway, who were loyal to the English authorities.

The Blake family became the owners of Killeen Castle and the surrounding estate, which included a large house on a hill to the north of the tower house, and a gatehouse on the N17 road. The Blakes were prominent landowners and politicians in Galway, and they made several alterations and additions to the castle over the years. They also built a farmhouse abutting the western wall of the tower house in the 19th century, which is still standing today.

However, the Blakes’ fortunes declined in the early 20th century, as they faced financial difficulties and political unrest. In 1922, during the Irish Civil War, their large house (Killeen House) was burned down by anti-Treaty forces, along with many other country houses of landed families. The house was later demolished, leaving only the tower house and the farmhouse as reminders of their former glory.

The castle and the land were then sold to a farmer from Tuam who had been managing the estate for the Blakes. The castle changed hands several times in the late 20th century, until it was bought by a private owner who restored and extended it into a family home. The castle is now in very good condition, and it retains many of its original features, such as the stone walls, the spiral staircase, the fireplaces and the vaulted ceilings.

Killeen Castle is not open to the public, but it can be admired from the roadside. It is a remarkable example of a medieval tower house that has survived centuries of change and turmoil. It is also a testament to the history and heritage of Galway, and especially to the Blake family, who played a significant role in shaping its culture and society.

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53.312803, -8.978710

Killeen Castle

GALLERY

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